Gear & Equipment hints

How to fill and deair the hydraulic steering system
(Booklet available for members from Guillermo)

Filling of oil shall be done at the wheel pump.

Loosen one of the pipes connections of the pump. Connect two rubber hoses to the unscrewed pipe connections. Put the end of the hoses into a bucket, filled with type A hydraulic oil (Shell Tellus 15 or similar). Bucket shall be at the same level as the wheelpump.
Open the bypass cock located between the rudder cylinders. Turn the steering wheel continuously to starboard until no bubbles of air appear at the  oil bucket. If you cannot bleed all air by this method, then do the same with the starboard connection at the wheelpump. In this case steering wheel has to be continuously turned to port. When bubbles dissapear, close the bypass cock.

Now deair the cylinders of the rudder motor by alternatively turning the wheel to end positions from port to starboard and viceversa, while opening the airscrews on the pressure side of the cylinders. When the system is completely deaired only oil will come out from the airscrews and the wheel will be rigid at the end positions. If the wheel is still elastic at the end positions, then there is still air in the system.
When finishing the deairing, dismount the auxiliary hoses and screw pump connections in place.

DIY improvement in MARIE's system:

Auxiliary reservoir connected to the wheel pump's upper bolt by means of a transparent plastic hose and a hole in that nut (Reservoir may even be transparent or have a gauge for an easier level control).
Allows for an easy checking for leaks in the system by inspecting oil level in reservoir and eventual bubbles in the plastic hose. Very useful for refilling small loses. You will never find yourself in the difficult situation of suddenly realizing you'd become without steering because all oil has silently gone to your bilges.

I've found it's difficult to follow the manufacturer's recommended method for a major refilling, as access to the wheelpump hose connections is really ackward. You will be obligued to dismount the whole of the steering panel to be able to connect/disconnect the needed hoses. So I have refilled the system (after having done a complete dismounting of the rudder cylinders for maintenance), by following the next method:

1.- Filling as much fluid through the upper opening in the wheelpump as possible (removing the nut), opening the cylinders' bypass cock and turning the wheel several times around both ways, till the system seems to accept no more fluid.
2.- Closing the bypass cock, deairing the cylinders, as explained in the manufacturer's method, till almost no bubbles come out through the airscrews.
3.- Repeating point 1.
4.- Repeating point 2.
5.- Then closing the upper nut (already connected to the auxiliary reservoir) and turning the wheel many, many times to both sides, refilling the auxiliary reservoir as needed. Bubbles come slowly up through the plastic hose till they come no more. You may even sail for some days or weeks feeling some "sluggishness" in the system, but eventually it will become completely full of oil and all bubbles would have escape.

You may need to repeat points 1 and 2 several times, as needed. This is an slow method and takes a lot of patience and two people, but it works and you do not have to dismount the steering wheel panel, which is a mess. Your choice.

Rudder, Propeller Shaft & Engine Bed arrangement
(Available for members in A4 size, by fax. Contact Guillermo)

Heavy anchor handling

Pin at base of Mizzen Mast

Mizzen Mast abatement

Preparing abating of main Mast
(Note dedicated "ladder" on the bow side)

Main mast lowering